Evolution and Vatican I - Question


#1

I just got done reading the documents of the First Vatican Council. It was very enjoyable.
One part, which I have heard something about in the past but never gave much thought until now, stood out. It was in the Canons of “God creator of all things”:
5. If anyone [LIST]
*]does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or
*]holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or
*]denies that the world was created for the glory of God:[/LIST] let him be anathema.
The above part in red appears to go directly against evolution, in that it condemns the idea one “substance” morphed into another “substance”. Rather any substance that exists was created out of nothing.

Now the question is: what is a “substance”?

Also, how does the theory of evolution mesh with the above condemnation?


#2

“Substance”, I believe, is used as a metaphysical term in theology. So “whole substance” could simply mean the quantum essence or divine idea of the thing in question. So God could have created the primordial point (that is, the essence and sum total of all information, energy, and matter that exists) out of nothing, willed the big bang, and guided everything from there according to his almighty will.


#3

You appear to be describing some kind of “divine ooze” that morphed or evolved into everything else that ever existed. I dont think that works because what you are saying is that there is but one substance and everything is made out of it.


#4

One substance morphs into another substance all the time. It is called chemistry. Also biology.

The doctrine affirms that God created all things out of nothing. The entire universe was created by God from nothing.

That doesn’t mean that he created your body from nothing at conception, or that he creates each new tree from nothing as it sprouts. Or that he creates each new water molecule that falls from the sky from nothing just prior to the rainstorm.


#5

I disagree with your assessment. Zigg is saying that God willed all that is or ever will be into existence, and that no other force is responsible for existence. The Big Bang and Evolutionary theories don’t necessarily contradict this.

Changes and adaptations are not the same thing as creating new substance; it merely means that God is ultimately responsible for the existence of anything that exists.

Peace,
Dante


#6

I don’t mean to post something that doesn’t pertain to the subject of whether or not the quote in Vatican I explicitly or implicitly denies the process of evolution, but there is a statement that I made in a few other threads that I’d love to have answered if the process of macroevolution is truly the way God designed His creation.

[quote=Koru]Didn’t God say “And God saw that it was good.” when referring to all that was created during each day? Would somebody please show me where death is something God refers to as “good”?

It’s my understanding that death is brought on by sin, the state of separation from God. If death is the consequence for going against the Will of God (Original Sin), then why would God possibly use death over and over again to fulfill what He desired to create (and could create without the need for it)? The Lord God NEVER refers to death as part of what is good in His creations.
[/quote]

I believe in special creation and this is one of the many issues I have with macroevolution that needs to be completely understood to go for the evolutionary theory before I abandon what I believe. :wink:

God Bless,
~Cole


#7

Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma addresses this point:

All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God. (De Fide)

Ott points out that what is in view here by the First Vatican Council are those heresies of ancient pagan and gnostic-manichean dualism where God is not responsible for the entire created world, since mere “matter” is evil not good, etc, along with modern materialism or pantheism (Ott, page 79). It does not mean there can’t be some kind of theistic evolution as Ott explains (pages 93-95).

Creationists in fact believe in “microevolution” so they don’t think that all the 2 to 10 million presently existing species on the planet were all “poofed” out of nothing by God. There was very rapid evolution from the created “Genesis kinds” if the creationist also believes the earth is young.

Phil P


#8

A Catholicis Evangelicis, libera nos, Domine!


#9

Koru << I believe in special creation and this is one of the many issues I have with macroevolution that needs to be completely understood to go for the evolutionary theory before I abandon what I believe. >>

The “animal death” and “plant death” and “cell death” and all kinds of death before sin has been addressed by old earth creationists. They are much better at this kind of thing since they do hold to a more literal Genesis and a more literal Bible generally than even the Popes. This has never been a problem to the modern Popes or Catholic faith. Christian geologists of the 19th century knew the earth was old before Darwin wrote “Origin of Species.”

The articles that biblically address this objection are:

Animal death before human sin
Death before the Fall of Man
No Death Before the Fall – a Young Earth Problem
Animal Death Before the Fall: What Does the Bible Say?
Death Before the Fall – the Theology and Cell Death Codes by Glenn Morton
No Physical Death Before the Fall? by Glen Kuban

Some are old earth creationists, some are theistic evolutionists. All are Protestant evangelicals I believe. I’ve linked to many of these in the past.

Phil P


#10

Phil, please show me where in Catholic teaching or in the bible explicitly stating that “death” isn’t the same thing as “animal death”. Animals (creatures) have within them, the breath of life. God explained to Noah (or Noe if you prefer the Douay translation) that because of the sin of man, the deluge will come (the flood). He told Noah to bring two (male and female) per kind of all the living creatures.

Genesis 6:19-20
"And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a sort into the ark, that they may live with thee: of the male sex, and the female."
“Of fowls according to their kind, and of every thing that creepeth on the earth according to its kind; two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live.”

Tell me now, why does the judgement for the sin of man also belong to the other living creatures? It’s because death, which came from Original Sin and after the world being corrupt with sin, doesn’t come into play just for mankind, but ALSO for all that are living. The judgement for the actions of Original Sin applies not only to man, but to all that live. THIS is (one reason) why I say that “animal death” is not a separate thing, it is also part of the judgement for original sin. Death (all death) was brought into the world from Original Sin and death is something that God sees as ‘not good’. God did not use death as a tool to bring Man or any other living creature into being, death is used as a judgement for disobeying the Word of God.

God Bless,
~Cole


#11

Koru << Phil, please show me where in Catholic teaching or in the bible explicitly stating that “death” isn’t the same thing as “animal death”. >>

The Bible (and Catholic teaching) defines death many ways: spiritual death (separation from God, or death of the soul: Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:4,20; Rev 20 the “second death”), and physical death (separation of soul from body: Eccl 3:20-21; 12:7; Matt 10:28; James 2:26; Luke 8:55; Acts 7:59). The “death” of Adam/Eve was primarily spiritual death (they did not immediately die physically after the Original Sin). Animals don’t experience spiritual death since they don’t have souls, only humans do.

Another question to ask is whether Catholic teaching says the “Garden of Eden” was the whole earth and universe, or just a part of the earth. From the responses I linked above, they argue the Garden was a special part of the earth set aside by God which is why Adam/Eve were “placed” in the Garden, and outside that “Garden” there was death.

There was someone in here who argued this “no death before sin” objection much more forcefully, from the Catechism and Catholic teaching. I forget his handle in here but I saved some of his posts somewhere. But he accepted evolution, he argued the “Garden of Eden” was pre-Fall and somewhere outside this universe, akin to what heaven or “Paradise” is.

Another problem is scientific. There is no question that animals (and insects, and plants, and cells, etc) lived, died, and went extinct millions of years before humans came on the scene. We have the bones and fossils to prove that. I don’t interpret Genesis as literally as you.

Phil P


#12

The bible defines death many ways, yes. Physical, spiritual and metaphorical… but ALL of those deaths originated from Original Sin.

Another problem is scientific. There is no question that animals (and insects, and plants, and cells, etc) lived, died, and went extinct millions of years before humans came on the scene. We have the bones and fossils to prove that. I don’t interpret Genesis as literally as you.

A lie if I have ever heard one.
You have bones and fossils that prove what? THAT something died?! Yes, but there are many questions to be asked about how they died…

How do fossils and bones that dwell in the earth and buried prove the age when they died, if they had children, and when they lived? Any credible paleontologist will tell you that they don’t get the age of the fossils from radiometric dating, but from where the bones are found in the strata of the earth. But, how does one determine the age of the strata? From the artistic depiction originally envisioned by Nicholas Steno from the late 17th century of course. This scale has changed through the course of time to fit the current assumptions of different layer ages, but there is not ONE place on earth that has 3 or more of the ordered strata in the order depicted by these artists.

Now, again i’ll ask… how is the age of the dirt/strata determined? Not by radiometric dating, any credible paleontologist will tell you that this method cannot be used for this! Modern scientists determine the age of the earth by where the fossils are found!

Fossils’ age is told by where it’s placed in strata;
Stratas’ age is told by where fossils are placed.

CIRCULAR REASONING at it’s best.

Now, I’m not sure that I believe the bible word for word, but Genesis definitely explains how God created all that exists from NOTHING. De Nihilo. And that God’s judgement on all living (the flood) accounts for all the fossil records in the ground.

You are absolutely correct. The doctrines declaring that not adhering to what is being explained “let him be anathema” are the STRICTEST of the doctrines. They are infallible teachings from the Church. Here is how it pertains to evolution…

The WHOLE of all substance (not parts or processes to form the whole) was created from nothing (de nihilo). This means the perfect man was created from nothing, not the pieces that eventually evolved into the perfect man as God envisioned. All was created whole from nothing. If this is not believed, let them be cut off from the Church (be anathema).

God Bless,
~Cole


#13

I guess I dont fully understand what a “substance” is then. You end with saying humans beget humans, trees come from seeds, rain from vapor, but has the “substance” changed in those?

In regards to chemistry I dont know how to think about it, after all you can “create” water and such in the lab.

If changes and adaptations are possible then is the substance staying the same or mutating? You say it is not the same as creating a “new substance”…that leaves only the idea of a single substance mutating into everything then doesnt it?

Is that book online, I would like to see what he says on 93-95.
Im still struggling to understand what a “substance” is.

Creationists in fact believe in “microevolution” so they don’t think that all the 2 to 10 million presently existing species on the planet were all “poofed” out of nothing by God. There was very rapid evolution from the created “Genesis kinds” if the creationist also believes the earth is young.

That is a good point. But the new question is does this “microevolution” involve changing substance?

The idea that animals went extinct long before Adam came around is something I have not thought of, yet it does put an interesting spin on passages like Gen 2:19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. The idea that God wanted Adam to rule over creation and name creation does not seem consistent with the idea millions of animals went extinct before then.


#14

OK, this Koru person rejects all of modern geology and modern biology. I get it.

I’ve already pointed out even young-earth creationists do not believe God created everything from nothing, since they accept “microevolution.” Where do wolves and coyotes come from? Well, they evolved from the Genesis “dog kind” according to creationists. Here you go:

“Creationist pioneer Byron Nelson wrote in 1928, ‘It is…unjust to the Sacred Record to insist that the ark carried two of every variety, e.g., two fox terriers, two coyotes, two wolves, two jackals, two collies, etc. It is better to say that the ark carried two animals we might call ‘dogs,’ from which, after the flood, all the above-mentioned varieties have come.’ For land animals and birds, the created kind most often corresponds to the conventional classification rank called ‘family.’ Based on my own biological research into created kinds, I would be even bolder than Nelson.” (From Answers In Genesis, “The Animals on Noah’s Ark”)

I.E. Super-fast evolution from the time of Noah to today produced the variety of species of “dogs” – coyotes, wolves, jackals, etc. and in fact the 2 million to 50 million of total species of animals on earth today including: 20,000 fish, 6000 reptiles, 9000 birds, 1000 amphibians, 15000 mammals, etc.

Phil P


#15

As for what Ludwig Ott says about theistic evolution on page 93-95 I quote here:

Ott gives the following comments on the “science” of Genesis and the Fathers, and the compatibility of biological evolution and Catholic faith:

“…as the hagiographers in profane things make use of a popular, that is, a non-scientific form of exposition suitable to the mental perception of their times, a more liberal interpretation, is possible here. The Church gives no positive decisions in regard to purely scientific questions, but limits itself to rejecting errors which endanger faith. Further, in these scientific matters there is no virtue in a consensus of the Fathers since they are not here acting as witnesses of the Faith, but merely as private scientists…Since the findings of reason and the supernatural knowledge of Faith go back to the same source, namely to God, there can never be a real contradiction between the certain discoveries of the profane sciences and the Word of God properly understood.” (Ott, page 92)

“As the Sacred Writer had not the intention of representing with scientific accuracy the intrinsic constitution of things, and the sequence of the works of creation but of communicating knowledge in a popular way suitable to the idiom and to the pre-scientific development of his time, the account is not to be regarded or measured as if it were couched in language which is strictly scientific…The Biblical account of the duration and order of Creation is merely a literary clothing of the religious truth that the whole world was called into existence by the creative word of God. The Sacred Writer utilized for this purpose the pre-scientific picture of the world existing at the time. The numeral six of the days of Creation is to be understood as an anthropomorphism. God’s work of creation represented in schematic form (opus distinctionis – opus ornatus) by the picture of a human working week, the termination of the work by the picture of the Sabbath rest. The purpose of this literary device is to manifest Divine approval of the working week and the Sabbath rest.” (Ott, page 93, cf. Exod 20:8)

“The doctrine of evolution based on the theistic conception of the world, which traces matter and life to God’s causality and assumes that organic being, developed from originally created seed-powers (St. Augustine) or from stem-forms (doctrine of descent), according to God’s plan, is compatible with the doctrine of Revelation. However, as regards man, a special creation by God is demanded, which must extend at least to the spiritual soul [creatio hominis peculiaris Denz 2123]. Individual Fathers, especially St. Augustine, accepted a certain development of living creatures…The question of the descent of the human body from the animal kingdom first appeared under the influence of the modern theory of evolution. The Biblical text does not exclude this theory. Just as in the account of the creation of the world, one can, in the account of the creation of man, distinguish between the per se inspired religious truth that man, both body and soul, was created by God, and the per accidens inspired, stark anthropomorphistic representation of the mode and manner of the Creation. While the fact of the creation of man by God in the literal sense must be closely adhered to, in the question as to the mode and manner of the formation of the human body, an interpretation which diverges from the strict literal sense, is, on weighty grounds, permissible.” (Ott, pages 93-94, 95)

At least the following points, among others, are accepted by Ludwig Ott. If anyone is familiar with the dogmatic sources he is, and he sees no necessary conflicts between modern science and Catholic dogma:

– the creation of the world and the biblical hexahemeron (the “six days” of creation) of Genesis need not be taken literally or scientifically
– the Fathers who spoke on the “six days” were acting as private scientists, not passing on infallible dogmas on faith and morals
– both the Fathers and the Bible authors wrote in a pre-scientific age and need not be taken literally when speaking on science matters
– theistic evolution as guided by God is not opposed to the biblical text nor Catholic faith
– the creation of man can be seen in a symbolical or non-literal sense concerning the mode and manner of the formation of the human body
– reason (science) and faith (doctrine) cannot conflict since God is the source of both

Phil P


#16

In scientific terms, the single substance would be the quark-gluon plasma.

Alec
evolutionpages.com


#17

Koru << Fossils’ age is told by where it’s placed in strata; Stratas’ age is told by where fossils are placed. CIRCULAR REASONING at it’s best. >>

Long Answer here.

Short Answer here.

You do need to stay away from creationist literature, the objections you bring up are decades old, and have been demolished by science. Study the real science. Begin with Dalrymple, and move on from there.

Phil P


#18

Cole, et al.:

As has been pointed out, the Vatican One statement has to do with the kind of creation God is responsible for–creation from absolutely nothing–and does not address how God created from nothing.

One can’t back-engineer evolution into Vatican One’ statement. Rather, go to Pope Pius XII’s “Humani Generis”, which explicitly describes the boundaries of Catholic belief in this area–pre-existent human forms are a possible element of God’s creative plan, as long as one accepts the immediate creation of the human soul (again from nothing) without any kind of “evolution” of the soul.

Our physical bodies could have evolved in a pre-human “animal” context, before being endowed by God for the first time with a human soul (our first truly human parents–fully human “body-souls”).

DJim


#19

Be very careful calling someone a liar, especially if you don’t truly understand that which you are discussing.

Any credible paleontologist will tell you that they don’t get the age of the fossils from radiometric dating, but from where the bones are found in the strata of the earth. But, how does one determine the age of the strata? From the artistic depiction originally envisioned by Nicholas Steno from the late 17th century of course. This scale has changed through the course of time to fit the current assumptions of different layer ages, but there is not ONE place on earth that has 3 or more of the ordered strata in the order depicted by these artists.

This is exactly what I am speaking of. You need to learn something about geology before you start making statements like this. That is not only wrong, it is insulting to those of us who have studied the subject.

Now, again i’ll ask… how is the age of the dirt/strata determined? Not by radiometric dating, any credible paleontologist will tell you that this method cannot be used for this! Modern scientists determine the age of the earth by where the fossils are found!

See above. You are wrong that radiometric dating isn’t used to date strata.

Fossils’ age is told by where it’s placed in strata;

Partially correct.

Stratas’ age is told by where fossils are placed.

Also partially correct. Unfortunately for you, the parts you have wrong make your follow-up accusation untrue.

CIRCULAR REASONING at it’s best.

See!

Now, I’m not sure that I believe the bible word for word, but Genesis definitely explains how God created all that exists from NOTHING. De Nihilo. And that God’s judgement on all living (the flood) accounts for all the fossil records in the ground.

See above about learning something about the topic you seem to think you understand. The fossil record is not the result of the flood of Genesis. In fact, there is no evidence of a global flood ever occuring.

Peace

Tim


#20

It does?
Where does it say that?

It says that at one point there wasn’t a universe and men and then at some point there was and in between something happened. (Which is the same thing that evolution says)

Perfectly well. It attempts to describe how God created man… at least the physical part of him.

[quote=Koru] Phil, please show me where in Catholic teaching or in the bible explicitly stating that “death” isn’t the same thing as “animal death”.
[/quote]

Well if I recall correctly the Bible states that God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree for on that day he would surely die. Adam proceeds to eat from the tree and then lives to an old old age.
So either God was pulling Adam’s leg or the editors of the Bible made a big error OR the text is not talking about physical death.


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